Game Show Host


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tabs

About

In 1970, the FCC introduced two new regulations, the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules (Fin-Syn) and the Prime Time Access Rule (PTAR), that had a considerable effect on quiz/game show producers and on the television industry in general. Fin-Syn limited network ownership of television programs beyond their network run and increased the control of independent producers over their shows. The producers' financial situation and their creative control was significantly improved. Additionally, PTAR gave control of the 7:00-7:30 P.M. time slot to local stations. The intention of this change was to create locally based programming, but the time period was usually filled with syndicated programs, primarily inexpensive quiz and tabloid news offerings. The overall situation of quiz/game show producers was substantially improved by the FCC rulings.

As a result, a number of new quiz shows began to appear in the mid-1970s. They were, of course, all in color, and relied on extremely bright and flashy sets, strong, primary colors, and a multitude of aural and visual elements. In addition to this transformation traditionally solemn atmosphere of quiz shows the programs were thoroughly altered in terms of content. Many of the 1970s quiz shows introduced an element of gambling to their contests (e.g. The Joker's Wild, The Big Showdown) and moved them further from a clear "academic" and serious knowledge toward an everyday, ordinary knowledge.

Blatant consumerism, in particular, began to play an important role in quiz shows such as The Price is Right and Sale of the Century as the distinctions between quiz and game shows became increasingly blurred in this period. As Graham points out in Come on Down!!!, quiz shows had to change in the 1970s, adapting to a new cultural environment that included flourishing pop culture and countercultures. Mark Goodson's answer to this challenge on The Price is Right was to create a noisy, carnival atmosphere that challenged cultural norms and assumptions represented in previous generations of quiz shows.

The same type of show remained prevalent in the 1980s, though most of them now appear primarily in syndication and, to a lesser extent, on cable channels. Both Wheel of Fortune and a new version of Jeopardy are extremely successful as syndicated shows in the prime time access slot (7:00-8:00 P.M.). In what may become a trend Lifetime Television has introduced two quiz shows combining everyday knowledge (of consumer products) with physical contests (shopping as swiftly--and as expensively--as possible). These shows, Supermarket Sweep and Shop 'Til You Drop, also challenge assumptions about cultural norms and the value of everyday knowledge. In particular they focus on "women's knowledge," and thus effectively address the predominantly female audience of this cable channel.

One future area of growth for quiz shows in the era of cable television, then, seems to be the creation of this type of "signature show" that appeals to the relatively narrowly defined target audience of specific cable channels. Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, then, notable examples to be sure, remain as the primary representatives of the quiz show genre, small legacy for one of the more powerful and popular forms of television.

-Olaf Hoerschelmann

Highlights
Richard Dawson on advice to aspiring game show hosts
01:17
Pat Sajak on developing his style as a host in the armed forces radio
00:54
Host Bob Eubanks on the role of the host on The Newlywed Game
05:50
Peter Marshall on what makes a good game show host
02:51
Vanna White on her role on Wheel of Fortune
00:48
Chuck Barris on hosting and producing The Gong Show
02:14
Who talked about this profession

Chuck Barris

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Chuck Barris on hosting and producing The Gong Show
02:14

Richard Dawson

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Richard Dawson on hosting Match Game and Family Feud
11:17
Richard Dawson on how hosting Family Feud fit him perfectly 
02:53
Richard Dawson on advice to aspiring game show hosts
01:17

Bob Eubanks

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Host Bob Eubanks on the role of the host on The Newlywed Game
05:50

Harry Friedman

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Harry Friedman on advice to an aspiring game show host
01:06

Peter Marshall

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Peter Marshall on what makes a good game show host
02:51

Wink Martindale

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Wink Martindale on what makes a good game show host, and on game show hosts he admires like Bill Cullen
02:35
Wink Martindale on executive producing game shows, and on his production company
02:19
Wink Martindale on the craft of game show hosting
04:58
Wink Martindale on his advice to an aspiring game show host
01:43

Pat Sajak

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Pat Sajak on hosting game shows - it goes against the performer's instinct because the game and the players are the stars, not you
01:52
Pat Sajak on advice for aspiring hosts
01:39

Bob Stewart

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Producer Bob Stewart on what makes a good game show host
01:26

Vanna White

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Vanna White on her role on Wheel of Fortune
00:48